Thompson feels at 'home' with lead

Lexi Thompson teeing off on the 15th hole during the second round of the LPGA Tour Championship in Naples, Florida. She carded a 67 for a 132 total and a three-shot lead.
Lexi Thompson teeing off on the 15th hole during the second round of the LPGA Tour Championship in Naples, Florida. She carded a 67 for a 132 total and a three-shot lead.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MIAMI • For the first time in nine months, Lexi Thompson's name is firmly atop the leaderboard and she is finally feeling at home.

The American, 23, fired a bogey-free five-under 67 on Friday to grab a three-shot lead midway through the LPGA Tour Championship in Naples, Florida.

Thompson, who lives in South Florida, two hours from Naples, claimed that it was a special feeling to play in her "home" tournament.

"I'm definitely having fun," she said on the Golf Channel. "This is definitely one of my favourite tournaments, because I can drive to it.

"I have so much family and friends here and a lot of fans.

"It means the world to me to just come here to Naples and play in front of them."

Thompson last led an LPGA tournament when she grabbed a four-way share of the lead after the first round of the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. She ended in a tie for second.

Without a victory this year as she took some time off to recharge her "mental batteries", she capped her round with three straight birdies at Tiburon Golf Club to pull away from overnight leader Amy Olson and Brittany Lincicome.

Her 36-hole score of 12-under 132 tied the tournament record set by Lydia Ko in 2016 and matched by Park Sung-hyun last year.

Thompson is the only player without a bogey through 36 holes and is on the way to expunging the memory of a missed two-footer that cost her victory here last year.

A victory would also extend her streak to six consecutive LPGA seasons with at least one win.

"I gave myself the birdie opportunities I wanted," said Thompson, who missed just one fairway and found all 18 greens in regulation.

"Wish I would've made a few more, but definitely not complaining with the five-under round and the finish I had.

"Two rounds down, two more to go. I'm just going to go out with the same attitude I had the last two days, take one shot at a time and be confident."

Lincicome carded a one-under 71 for an nine-under total of 135, as Olson followed up her first-round 63 with a 72 to share second place.

World No. 1 and defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn opened her round with three straight bogeys but rebounded to post a 71 that left her nine off the lead in a tie for 20th.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LPGA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 18, 2018, with the headline 'Thompson feels at 'home' with lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe